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Posts published in “Day: November 3, 2016”

To laugh, to cry


“A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh…..” ……Ecclesiastes 3; 4

In less than a week millions of Americans will trudge to the polls without much enthusiasm, to cast a ballot for one of the two most disliked and flawed nominees in American history, if one is to believe the polls.

To cast a vote for President based on who is the least trustworthy, least honest, least qualified, least divisive is a travesty. It undermines faith in the Democratic process and feeds the forces of selfishness, greed and evil. It prompts some to talk in apocalyptic terms of revolution, civil war and anarchy, especially when one candidate says in advance the outcome is rigged.

Notice the qualifier at the end of the first graph: “if one is to believe the polls.”

This is one long-time political observer who puts little stock in polls. This election is going to be closer than the public has been lead to believe. Here’s why:

1) Fewer voters have landline telephones, especially those under 35. Most carry cell-phones. Because one carries their cell phone regardless of the area code it is difficult for pollsters to obtain a fix on this demographic. It takes longer and it costas more to identify a generic voter pool.

2) A heavier than normal turnout trumps easily a poll prediction. Trump clearly has hit a chord with the disaffected, disenchanted and the diss-all-levels-of-government types, which has resulted in some states having record turnout and a slew of new voters. The lesson to be drawn is enthusiasm and grass root sentiment can trump organizational turn out the vote efforts.

3) All the major polls missed badly on Justin Trudeau’s victory in Canada’s recent parliamentary elections. Pollsters missed badly on how the British voter was going to vote on BREXIT (getting out of the European Union) in large part because the turnout was much higher than historical averages.

4) There’s a prospect that on election day the 10% polls predict nationally for the Libertarian candidate could fade. If just half those voters who say they are voting for former New Mexico Governor Garry Johnson morph into votes for Trump the electoral vote map changes dramatically. Take Ohio. Current polls show a dead heat with 47% for Mrs. Clinton and 46% for Trump. Johnson polls at 5% and Mrs. Stein polls at 2 %. If half of Johnson’s vote switches to Trump he takes Ohio.

5) There’s no way pollsters can guard against the person being polled from lying. Some put this lie factor at 5%. Trump insiders are claiming that there’s a hidden 5% for their guy that will materialize - they may be correct.

6) Regardless of who wins, the Republic will survive. Yes, a President Trump can use his executive authority and sign a variety of decrees that would change the direction of certain policies, but ours is a system of check and balances. Ironically, a President Trump would soon discover he and his agenda inextricably caught up in a war within the Republican party for its soul.

7) Many can recall similar dire predictions issued by the media and liberals when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. He turned out to be a pretty good president.

Personally, despite reservations about her honesty and the character of both she and Slick Willie, I’m still voting for Mrs. Clinton. There’s no substitute for experience, she knows issues inside and out, does her homework and will present a thoughtful, disciplined face to the world.

The presidency, as we should know from watching President Obama take six years to master the job, is no place for on the job training.

There are two other more than qualified women on the ballot readers should support. The first is Kathy Kraack Kahn, a recently retired St. Maries school teacher, and a former student of mine. She is far more qualified and thoughtful than the incumbent and proudly calls herself an Andrus Democrat. Cece has of course endorsed her.

The second is Robyn Brody who is seeking a vacant seat on the State Supreme Court. The Idaho Bar judged her to be far more qualified than her opponent, Senator Curt McKenzie. He has shamelessly tried to play up his Republican credential in a non-partisan race by such stunts as placement of his campaign signs in the cluster of other Republican signs.

Ms. Brody has adhered to the non-partisan requirement though she too is a Republican as she and her husband were Minidoka county co-coordinators for Senator Larry Craig’s last campaign. Shame on McKenzie. I also have to express disappointment in State Senator Shaun Keough, who should be supporting Robyn, but out of traditional loyalty to a senatorial colleague is supporting McKenzie. Election night will see whether I laugh or cry.

Trump 6: Undermining national security


Of many ways a Donald Trump presidency could damage the United States, few are more immediately catastrophic than the risk to our national security.

This is not simplistic material. "Bomb the hell out of them" is the kind of line that might offer emotional gratification to some (thoughtless) audiences, but the kind of thought process lying behind it would be disastrous in practice. His bizarre choice of foreign role models would be hardly better. His ignorance of the importance of national security basics accepted by presidents of both parties for generations could put not only the United States but the whole world at risk.

Former Sweden Prime Minister Carl Bildt (not to the sort of person usually to comment much on an American election) twitted, "I never thought a serious candidate for US President could be a serious threat against the security of the West. But that's where we are."

Two statements from groups of foreign policy experts should be allowed to weigh in here.

One, from July, is an open letter signed by more than 150 foreign policy leaders saying, "On balance, Mr. Trump’s foreign policy would weaken America’s alliances and erode its power . . . Mr. Trump’s foreign policy vision has inspired alarm across the political spectrum in the United States as well as in allied capitals throughout the world. Many critics of his candidacy appear to have believed that they could blunt his momentum by lampooning his disposition and mocking his proposals. With less than four months before the United States elects its next president, however, it is evident that neither of those tactics has succeeded; it behooves Americans—policymakers, analysts, and citizens alike—to take Mr. Trump seriously and interrogate his vision of foreign policy."

That one is not to be confused with a statement signed a month earlier by more than 120 conservative foreign policy experts. They said:

We the undersigned, members of the Republican national security community, represent a broad spectrum of opinion on America’s role in the world and what is necessary to keep us safe and prosperous. We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency. Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly:
His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.
His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world.
His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.
His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort. Furthermore, it endangers the safety and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims.
Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor.
Similarly, his insistence that close allies such as Japan must pay vast sums for protection is the sentiment of a racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II.
His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.
He is fundamentally dishonest. Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation.

One of the most recent television ads released by the Hillary Clinton campaign is a reprise of the famous "Daisy" ad offered in 1964 to devastating effect against Barry Goldwater. You can make a case, with the passage of time, that it unfairly maligned Goldwater. But its implications cannot malign Trump at all: As a prospective president, he is an imminent danger to this country and the world. - rs